Friday, August 15, 2014

The world at war

I am re-watching what I think is still the best documentary of the Second World War: The World at War. It was produced by the BBC in 1974 right at the point when many of the classified materials about World War II had been declassified but when many of the principle individuals on all sides who had participated were still available to be interviewed. The perspective is British which means from the beginning — not only from Pearl Harbor on. It is an extraordinary effort. Amazon's description:
More than 35 years after its initial broadcast, The World at War remains the definitive visual history of World War II. Unsurpassed in depth and scope, its 26 hour-long programs feature an extraordinary collection of newsreel, propaganda, and home-movie footage drawn from the archives of 18 nations, including color close-ups of Adolf Hitler taken by his mistress, that present an unvarnished perspective of the war s pivotal events. Penetrating interviews with eyewitness participants from Hitler s secretary to Alger Hiss to ordinary citizens who stood outside the battle lines add spine-tingling, first-hand accounts to an already unforgettable viewing experience.

Informative and unbiased, The World at War is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an International Emmy Award, The National Television Critics' Award for Best Documentary, and knighthood for its creator, Sir Jeremy Isaacs. Narrated by Academy Award winner Sir Laurence Olivier and painstakingly restored in 1080p high-definition (with newly-created 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks), this is epic history at its absolute best.
It is indeed "epic."